#AnInchADay ! An Interview With The Creative Mind Behind Boston's Premier Vlog: TheMUSEUM TV

 

In the city of Boston, we're all we got! We know how diverse our city is. We know how much talent is bubbling beneath the surface, waiting to burst onto the scene. Yet it constantly feels like we get overlooked. Despite the fact that Boston ranks 23rd of the 300+ largest cities in the United States, we're still jostling for position in regards to establishing our city as a go-to for all forms of talented creatives. This happens to be one of the reasons why ItsLitBoston was created, but we're not the only ones out here trying to shine a light on what Boston has to offer. Ask anyone who's really paying attention to who's putting on for the city, and you're likely to hear about Boston's Premier Vlog: TheMUSEUM TV. Founded out of a desire to tell our story, it is a platform that is mainly used to display a collective of Boston creatives. Musicians, singers, rappers, photographers, videographers, entrepreneurs and even young professionals from a variety of fields have been featured on TheMUSEUM TV. A little recognition goes a long way, and that is exactly what TheMUSEUM TV strives to give our city and its talented individuals that deserve to be seen! We had the opportunity to speak to Noble (founder of TheMuseum TV) about how he got his start, the reason behind his decision to create the platform, and his plans for the future. Check out the conversation below! 

 

ItsLitBoston: Give me a brief summary of where you grew up, living circumstances and what put you onto the path you're on now?

Noble: I grew up in the neighborhood of Roxbury in Boston. The big brown building right behind Tropical Foods in Dudley, back when they were in their old spot in that lot for those that know wassup. I'm of Haitian descent, grew up with my Mum, Pops, and older Sis. As far as what put me on my path to where I am now, that just comes from having people that gave a f*ck about me. From primary family to secondary family to older homies. My pops was a School Director in Haiti and from a young age instilled a lot of values in me. Things I needed to work for that I couldn't buy. On top of that my older cousins made sure I heard their negative life experiences to learn from. Looking back now it seems my life's pillars have been: Respect - Hustle - Discipline. I got my first job when I was 12 bussing tables for a Restaurant in the North End of Boston. Young Black Kid traveling on the train everyday from Dudley to the North End. I always knew I wanted to be in some type of Business. S/O to my Albanian Plug, Sokol, for that First Job.

 

What made you feel something like TheMUSEUM TV was a necessity for the city of Boston?

We didn't have anything that was telling our (the up and comer's) story at a high level with consistency. An infrastructure. Starting The Museum TV came from simply wanting to help my city by filling a void I recognized. The reason the NY, CA, FL, CHI, TX and ATL markets continue to shine is because they have outlets really telling the city's (which of course includes the people in it) story and not what someone can find in a history book. Stories shape the times and I'm just trying to help tell our story. It promotes collaboration. I really feel like our generation is special. Like super special. We them ones.

 

What was the inspiration behind calling your platform TheMUSEUM TV? Is there any particular meaning behind it?

I like making up names for things. I like bringing together random things and making them make sense. My dorm room in college I called "The Space Time Continuum". Me and some of my guys in college were the "Goo Masters" because of me. I guess my imagination was and still is active. As far as naming The Museum, it was the best way to collectively and creatively group things in my head. There are many different types of museums and they all are still museums. We highlight a wide range of different types of creatives. Each interview or video in question is like an exhibit and you're liable to see anything. It's a dope theme to model after cause it can be limitless.

 

What do you think guests appreciate most about being featured on TheMUSEUM TV?

People here aren't used to being shown genuine love, and that's what we do for our guests & those we rock with. Amazing what a little love can do to a city.

 

Name 5 artists/people you want to work with that you haven't yet.

Behind The Scenes: Noble and Nate on set of The BoomBox Basement

Behind The Scenes: Noble and Nate on set of The BoomBox Basement

Millyz, got respect for homie. I want to work with Bodega on something. The Boston Globe. Bia, got respect for shorty. Lastly, I'll go with the Museum of Fine Arts.

 

In your opinion, what has been TheMUSEUM TV's biggest moment since the platform was created?

The biggest moment for me was when we transitioned from solely producing our monthly photo contest to opening up the content to what people see today. We used to only put out content twice a month and built promotion around that. So, it's definitely dope to see how my experiences helped shape the direction of The Museum TV. Big Facts.

 

Where do yourself as well as TheMUSEUM TV in 5 years?

I'll continue to be at peace. That's about as much as I can say. As far as TMTV, the plan is to stretch past the boundaries of MA so let's see what happens.

 

Last but not least, can you give me a quote that you live by?

#AnInchADay but it's more like a mantra. As long as I'm one inch closer to my visions, it's never a Bad Day. It's only an inch. Bad days are discouraging. I don't like those.

 

Noble and the rest of his team have so much in store for the city of Boston so make sure you stay up to date with TheMUSEUM TV by following them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and by subscribing to their vlog HERE! Also, check out some of the latest additions to TheMUSEUM TV platform below: 

 

Check out TheMUSEUM TV's Directory ! It lists creatives ready to work that TheMUSEUM TV can vouch for. "People always talk of how they are missing this to do something, or missing that. The Directory lists a range of creators to work with from Photographers to Recording Studios. This will cut back on the excuses from Boston Creatives if they know of The Directory."- Noble

 

 

Check Out The BoomBox Basement , an exclusive showcase at Self Made Designs in Quincy, MA for Pop-Up Performances. "Hosted by our guy Nate The BoomBox Basement closed off our 2016 and we're excited to see its growth in 2017 as well." -Noble

 

 

 

 

 

"We have a new Host who just started named Amber who will assist Reese with holding Interviews. There's another host soon to be announced as well that we'll keep on the low for now. Just know, the family growing." - Noble

 

 

NEWGENN: The Budding Media & Entertainment Empire You Need To Know About!

The Men of NEWGENN (from l. to r.): Junior, Emmanuel, Justice & Samuel

The Men of NEWGENN (from l. to r.): Junior, Emmanuel, Justice & Samuel

NEWGENN is a budding media & entertainment empire that you need to know about. You already know that because it's the title of the article, but these guys are so talented that it deserves to be said again! Comprised of brothers Emmanuel & Samuel Appiah and brothers Justice & Junior Boateng, NEWGENN has made waves in the fields of visual art and music. Their origin story is not unlike many others: after playing around with a guitar one day and making a track that got good feedback, they realized that they actually had talent and could be pretty big. However, it's their eerily similar background and upbringing that mostly contributed to the creation of their brand. Emmanuel and Sam are of Ghanaian descent, sons of a pastor and were born in Brooklyn, NY. They moved to Ghana and Ohio, before settling in Worcester, MA. Justice and Junior are also of Ghanaian descent, sons of a pastor and were born in The Netherlands before their family settled in Worcester, MA. In Worcester the four of them crossed paths as enemies on opposing sides of the football field,  but it was music that brought them together as friends/brothers. A chance opportunity came their way when Ghanaian gospel artist Sonnie Badu came to play at the DCU Center and was in need of a band. They gladly took the gig and after doing such a great job, Justice and Junior's dad excitedly told them that they were "the new generation!" It was at point that NEWGENN was born.    

Image from the NEWGENN portfolio

Image from the NEWGENN portfolio

Growing up Emmanuel, Sam, Justice and Junior did all the usual things young people do: partying, hanging out, and getting involved in all kinds of craziness. However they realized early on that they didn't want to lead that sort of lifestyle. As the sons of pastors, they were raised in the church and decided that they wanted to live their lives in reverence to God. Not everyone can do that by preaching so they joined the music ministry and their talents soon became the highlight of Sunday service. People looked forward to the music ministry so much that they wouldn't attend service unless the NEWGENN was going to be playing! Knowing that they could minister to people through music and keep them coming back to the house of God is what inspired them to keep going. Music ended up being what kept them in the church and out of trouble. For them, music is an emotional thing; it's not about money but about the feeling they get knowing that they can use it to touch so many lives. Don't get it twisted though; they're not just some guys who play the instruments to back up some little church choir. Justice and Junior are legitimate instrumentalists who have a full fledged studio in their basement. Emmanuel colorfully describes them as "Dr. Dre on steroids". To date, they have produced, mastered, and played instruments for tracks on four albums from major African artists. Although they currently play more of the producer role, Justice and Junior have the talent to take the forefront and become artists in their own right. If the right opportunity presented itself, there's no doubt that they would take it! 

If you don’t constantly keep reading, learning about other things and staying on your A game, another person gon’ sneak up behind you and take your spot!
— Emmanuel, of NEWGENN
Image from the NEWGENN portfolio

Image from the NEWGENN portfolio

Aside from the music, photography and videography are the other major aspects of the NEWGENN empire. Emmanuel (who slowly realized he wasn't as talented a musician as his fellow cohorts) branched off into photography, an old hobby of his that developed from his love of visuals and taking/editing pictures. After some valuable experience designing his high school yearbook and taking wedding photos that got traction on some blogs, Emmanuel decided it was time to start taking things seriously; they began investing in themselves and the development of their visual art skills and the rest is history! The NEWGENN portfolio is now an immense collection of dynamic pictures and videos that each tell their own unique story. They've covered some serious ground; from intimate photo shoots to major events. Each picture and video is meticulously edited, down to the last detail to ensure utmost customer satisfaction. Most importantly, they are always looking to learn and improve by asking for as much feedback as possible from their customers, good or bad! Some of their work has already caught the attention of major networks and industry vets. A video Emmanuel shot and edited went viral and resulted in VH1 reaching out and asking him to work on a project with international superstar Jason Derulo. After the project, Jason Derulo and his team personally called to compliment and thank him for a job well done. If that's not a major cosign, then what is?

Image from the NEWGENN portfolio

Image from the NEWGENN portfolio

You know how almost every major image in the media is credited to Getty Images? Well that's exactly the kind of franchise NEWGENN aims to have in the future. The men of NEWGENN understand that their time in NOW.  The young, educated Black men will continue to pursue their music & media dreams. They believe that everything they have achieved thus far is a blessing; God has put them exactly where they are for a reason. With hopes of working with power players such as Chance The Rapper, J. Cole, Oprah, Steve Harvey, Jamie Foxx, Donnie McClurkin, Kiki Sheard, Kim Burrell and Kirk Franklin in the future, they understand that they have to keep grinding and making moves so that it'll only get better from here. Don't be surprised when you start seeing the NEWGENN logo everywhere!

To contact and keep up with all things NEWGENN, follow their respective social media pages tagged above and check out their website HERE!

Also, check out more images from the NEWGENN portfolio below:

Plad Fine$$e: Making Himself Happy and Not Giving A F*CK What You Think!

Photo By: @ri_ft

Photo By: @ri_ft

 

It's easy to see a guy like Plad Fine$$e and underestimate him. At one point, he even underestimated himself. Born in a refugee camp in Nairobi, Kenya after his family fled their native country of Somalia due to civil war, Plad's mother made her way to American and settled in Boston when he was just an infant. Rapping since the age of 13, the Roxbury bred rapper knew that he had discovered his passion but like most artists, felt like nobody paid much attention to him. That all changed with the release of one track; "That's Finesse" quickly reached over 20,000 spins on Soundcloud and it's accompanying video reached over 10,000 views on YouTube. With that eye-opening accomplishment, Plad realized that his dream could be a reality and he has been hard at work ever since.

 

Everything and everyone, even the trash artists; Everyone has something I can learn from.
— Plad Fine$$e, when asked about where he draws influence.

For Plad, the process for creating music is simple: just roll weed and vibe. It's a formula that seems to be working quite well for the rising artist. His following is growing everyday and he has plenty of cosigns from other notable Boston rappers. Good artists make their listeners feel something when they hear their music and that is something one can look forward to when they bump a Plad Fine$$e track. Although he acknowledges heavy hitters like Kanye West, J Cole and Joey Bada$$ as early influences, Plad now takes a more broad approach in finding the inspiration for the music he creates. He hopes to one day work with the three artists mentioned above, as well as Lucki Ecks and Cousin Stizz. His hard work and determination has made it possible for him to achieve his dream of becoming a rapper, and now he's focused on using his music to build his fan base and to make some money along the way!    

 

Be on the lookout for a full length project from Plad Fine$$e in the near future but in the meantime, you can stay up to date with everything he's got going on by following him on Instagram and Twitter! Also check out the links below to hear some of his music and check out some of his music videos!

     

The Come Up of STARRPOWER Entertainment

Hardwork beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
— Tim Notke

So what happens when one is hardworking and talented?

Allow me to explain that to you.

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016. Shortly after 6pm, the STARRPOWER Entertainment team stumbles into my house. It's evident that they have had quite a long day; you can see the fatigue on their faces. The entire day has been dedicated to shooting scenes to promote a single from Boston artist Jefe Replay, and the day's not over yet. They still have to shoot this scene, a scene with someone else, and get back to their various homes. They haven't even eaten a real meal all day. For most people, that sounds like hell. For them, it's just another day's work. After some small talk, it's time for us to get down to business and together Starr (Director/Producer), LT (Shooter/Editor), Sheena (Production Coordinator), and Dom (Production Assistant) are seamless. Everyone contributes; Dom handles the music; LT makes sure to have the right angles and lighting for the shot; Sheena comes up with the scene's concept, selects my outfit, and even tells me to spit out my gum during the shoot; last but certainly not least, Starr directs. In what feels like no time at all, the scene is done and they're off to finish up their long a** day. As stated earlier, this is the norm for them. Aside from their natural talents, it's their vision, efficiency, teamwork and execution that are the reasons for their success in building the brand known as STARRPOWER Entertainment. As the team gears up to bring Boston another edition of the popular music showcase entitled "The Come Up", founder, director and producer Starr spoke to us about her humble beginnings, inspiration behind the moves she has made, and what else is to come for STARRPOWER.

      

 

ItsLitBoston: Give me a brief summary of where you grew up, your living circumstances and what put you onto the path you're on now?

Photo by: @ovstills

Photo by: @ovstills

Starr: I was born in Boston, MA, raised in Randolph, MA. My parents moved out the city to the South Shore when I was young. Their reasoning like many families was for a better school system, to own their own home, safety -- just a better overall living experience. Growing up I didn't have anything cool. My parents didn't get me the poppin' Northface book bags, never had the latest kicks -- all my outfits came from AJ Wright, Marshalls, and if money was really low the Goodwill. Luckily I wasn't into all that stuff as much as other kids, probably because they raised me not to put value on material things. But growing up I was into sports, that's what I cared about, that's what I focused on being good at. In high school I was one of the best long jumpers in the state in track & field -- that earned me a NCAA DII athletic scholarship to American International College. A couple months after I had signed my letter of intent for my scholarship, my father died. He was my #1 fan. That moment was when I started taking life a lot more serious because I saw with my own eyes that your life can change in a blink of an eye -- my father's death motivated me.

 

In your opinion, what has been your biggest personal moment thus far, as well as the biggest moment for Starrpowerent ? 

What is my biggest personal moment thus far? My mom can answer that question better than I can honestly. I don't even know. A lot of things people would call accomplishments I shrug to them. Not to say I'm not grateful and I don't take time to reflect, but living out in NYC makes you want more and keeps you on your toes to never get satisfied. I'll get 1M+ on a video and then turn to my partner and say, "Man, we should of got 5M+". And the truth is, if we got 5M+ I would of been like, "We need 10M+". That's just been my mindset these past couple of years. 

 

What was the inspiration behind the decision to start doing The Come Up? 

Flyer for the Boston edition of The Come Up, which is returning to the city after it's successful launch in 2015.

Flyer for the Boston edition of The Come Up, which is returning to the city after it's successful launch in 2015.

STARRPOWER Entertainment started off as a blog that featured articles on music, lifestyle, sports, fashion and anything relevant to the Boston music scene. Though I wasn't in Boston, the brand had an imprint on the city. I realized that STARRPOWER Entertainment was becoming an entity you could only see online and a brand people couldn't engage with. I wanted to change all that and give the people that support STARRPOWER an experience -- so throwing music showcases is what came to mind. We decided to call it "The Come Up" because that's the state of mind we operate in; it has so many layers and meanings but in general it's believing in yourself and learning how to be patient for the things you want in life. 

 

 

 

In your own words, describe what each Come Up show has been like. Also, has the energy/vibe been different in each city? Which show would you say was the best overall?

We've done 3 shows so far -- Boston, Providence, and Philadelphia. It's been a year since our first one so we're bringing it back to Boston. I honestly couldn't tell you which show is my favorite because I love them all for different reasons. 

Boston, MA -- Boston was dope! Everybody had a good time, including the artists which I think is equally as important. It was such a good show that I knew it would be hard to top but I think this second go around is gonna do it. 

Providence, RI -- Providence surprised me. It was a cold day in February and Future and Bryson Tiller both had shows in the area on the same day. I didn't expect the turnout we got and I would go on record for saying that more people came out in Providence than Boston and Philly. That city really showed us love and we met a lot of great people out there. 

Philadelphia, PA -- The promo we had for our Philly show was the best to date. You know how in Boston we have a bunch of podcasts, blogs, local showcases, etc., well in Philly they have none of that -- well let me not say none. There's RecPhilly and Veli but forreal forreal, there's nothing. So they were open to whatever which creatively gave us a lot of flexibility. The show in Philly was dope though. 

 

Can you name some people you want to work with in the future? 

Photo by: @delarosa_jr

Photo by: @delarosa_jr

I want to work with Kanye West. I know it will happen one day too. That man is a huge source of my inspiration creatively and personally. 

 

What's your end game? Like, paint the big picture of what is the overall goal you want to achieve.

We were a blog, now we're a service. STARRPOWER will help you put together your event, host your event, promo your event, shoot your music video, tell an inspiring story, do commercials, work with big brands, etc. The end game is to make a lot of money working for ourselves and establish a name in the industry as an one-of-a-kind creative team whether it's in music, television, advertising, events, etc.

 

Honestly, things can only go up from here and we can't wait to see what the future holds for STARRPOWER Entertainment! For now, what we do know is that the fourth edition of The Come Up will be taking place on Wednesday, November 16th! Speaking from personal experience, I can guarantee that it'll be an experience you don't want to miss out on! Tickets are available online at www.thecomeuptix.com. Also, make sure you stay connected with everything STARRPOWER Entertainment by following them on Instagram now!

Malado Music: New England's Very Own Supergroup

2016 has been a great year for music. A variety of artists have broken through the figurative glass ceiling and used their talent to contribute to pop culture. However, the music scene today is a dynamic expanse that continues to be a constant source of discussion about what is to be considered "good music". Whether you prefer Kodak Black and Lil Yatchy or Chance The Rapper and Kanye West, one thing that can't be denied is the talent of artists who can still play instruments, as well as produce/compose music. One such collective of artists has been developing a following right here in Massachusetts (and New England as a whole) by staying true to themselves and supplying their listeners with real music. That collective of singers, rappers, instrumentalists, composers and producers is known as Malado Music.

Hailing from Springfield, MA and Hartford, CT respectively, all the members of Malado Music got their start where many artists do; the whole band grew up singing or playing instruments in church. In addition to honing their skills every Sunday, they drew influence from music industry vets like The Roots, Mint Condition, Earth, Wind, & Fire, 1500 or Nothin, Adam Blackstone and so many more dope R&B and Hip Hop artists. Fast forward to today, they have come together and are a force to be reckoned with. Just recently, they headlined the 100th annual Big E fair, which happens to be the largest state fair on the Eastern seaboard. Before that, they were one of the top three finalists in VH1's Make A Band Famous competition. The group considers those moments as their biggest and most successful thus far, but those moments definitely won't be their last!   

We want to touch and change lives with our music. We want to travel the world sharing our God given gift with new people.
— Malado Music

It is important to remember that Malado Music is more that just a band; they are also a group that creates and releases original music. They described their process of writing music as such: "Sometimes it's a collaboration between a few of us at a time, allowing the rest of us to build off the idea. Other times, one person may submit a new idea and collectively we make it come to life." When asked to compare themselves to an already established group, the men of Malado Music chose The Roots because both groups have their own signature sound. They also compared themselves to 1500 or Nothin because both groups are composed of multifaceted musicians. In the future, they hope to collaborate with artists such as Joyner Lucas, Sevyn Streeter, Tank, Kehlani and Dave East.    

 

To keep up with all things Malado Music, to book the group, or if you're an artist seeking to enhance your performances with the use of a live band, follow and contact them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also check out some of their performances on YouTube, as well as listen to some original tracks below!

 

Chef Cliff: A Hidden Culinary Gem

Cliff's Creations: Pan Seared Trout, topped with a mango peach pineapple salsa over pickled cabbage and spinach, w/ roasted pine nuts and bacon.


Cliff's Creations: Pan Seared Trout, topped with a mango peach pineapple salsa over pickled cabbage and spinach, w/ roasted pine nuts and bacon.

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending my cousin's four course birthday dinner that took place at her house. I must admit, when I first heard about her plan to have a private chef come over to prepare the meal, I immediately rolled my eyes because I thought she was being extra bougie. Also, my immediate eye roll reflex was partially triggered by the thought of how much it was going to cost me to attend this dinner. Private chef? Four course meal? Can you say arm and a leg?! However, I was pleasantly surprised when I was informed how much it was actually going to cost me. I was was even more pleased at the end of the amazing dinner that was painstakingly and meticulously prepared by Chef Cliff. Although he spent the majority of the time in the kitchen making sure the appetizers, entrees and dessert was nothing short of perfect, Cliff was responsible for the heart and soul of the party: the food. Aside from its basic necessity, food is a foolproof way of bringing people together. With great food, you can practically take over the world. I'm not saying that's what Chef Cliff is trying to do, but after eating that meal, I surely wouldn't mind if he did! Luckily, myself and the other attendees of that dinner party aren't the only people he wants to have that experience. Chef Cliff has turned his talents into a full fledged business and we got the opportunity to sit down with him to discuss more about the business and how he got his start. Check out the conversation below!       

 

ItsLitBoston: Give me a brief summary of where you grew up, your living circumstances and what put you onto the path you're on now?

Chef Cliff: I was born in Haiti, came to America when I was three years old. We were in NY (Brooklyn to be exact) for a little bit, but moved down to MA when I was starting 5th grade. Growing up I had strict parents, like I had STRICT PARENTS. I always had to do the right thing but I never did the right thing. I was always getting into trouble and stuff like that. I kinda had to find out for myself what I wanted to do. I never knew I wanted to cook. I've been cooking since I was 8 but I didn't think I could make it a career. It was when I was going to Southeastern (vocational high school in Easton, MA), and my Mom was helping me fill out the application. She was going through the list of classes/shops that I could take and was like: "Hey, how about culinary arts?" I'm like yea I like to draw and that's art so put that down! So in the second week of shop, I go to class and I have my sketch pad, my pencil, getting ready to go. My chef just looked at me and was like: "are you okay?" I was like yea, this is culinary arts right? (lol) He was like: "no, I'll trade you. Give me the sketch pad, go get a knife and a cutting board." Started out cutting onions and stuff like that and something about it just opened my eyes. It was a different form of art. I traded in a sketchpad for a plate. The fact that I could take something that is nothing, and make it something is really cool to me. It's just been wonderful ever since then. 

 

Are you self taught or did you attend culinary school?

Cliff's Creations: Roasted Duck on a bed of basil cream rissoto, w/ a sweet balsamic ginger reduction sauce.

Cliff's Creations: Roasted Duck on a bed of basil cream rissoto, w/ a sweet balsamic ginger reduction sauce.

I was self taught. First dish I made was eggs. That was the only thing my Mom would trust me with. After moving to MA, my sister and I were living with our Aunt for a little while and we didn't like the food she was cooking, so we were eating junk food. We eventually got tired of junk food so we hit the ramen noodles HARD (lol). We did a lot of remixes, coming up with new ways to cook the noodles; it was crazy. Then my Dad started teaching us, showing us how to marinate chicken and how to make our favorite dishes. My Mom taught me some things as well. Then at Southeastern, I went to culinary shop and just did everything myself. Even from just watching people, like if I can see you cook something, I can cook it. It might not be as perfect as yours but it will be dam close!

 

Have you had any experience working in restaurants? Tell us a little about what that was like for you. 

Oh yea, I went to Le Cordon Bleu (culinary school). They had a restaurant called Techniques, and that's where they trained us on how to work in the restaurant business. Working at a restaurant is no joke. It's so fast paced but that's what I love about it. That adrenaline rush. I worked in the kitchen at a couple nursing homes but that was more so for the money. I wasn't being challenged or getting the training I needed to become a great chef.  I quit those jobs and went to work at Halfway Cafe which isn't a fancy restaurant, but it was the fast pace that I needed. But after working there for a while, I started to think about what my next move was going to be and how I wanted to further my career. So I took a leap of faith and quit. I did some odd jobs for a bit, Uber, Lyft, which was cool but the kitchen was calling me. So I went to Del Friscos, which is a fine dining steakhouse, did that for a little bit just to get me where I needed to be. From there, I went into Assisted Living, where I.m making the money I want and working at the restaurant pace and style that I need to perfect my skills. Ever since then I've been creating good food and that's when I realized that I can make a business out of this.  

 

Describe the business that you decided to create and are now building. 

Chef Cliff in his element, patiently putting the finishing touches on a dish.

Chef Cliff in his element, patiently putting the finishing touches on a dish.

So I'm like Blue Apron on steroids (lol). What I want to do is bring the restaurant to your house. You know, that fine dining, beautiful cuisine but just in the comfort of your home. Whether you're feeding a party of 8 or 20, I just wanna be the guy that feeds you. I also want you all to have an experience and to see food the way I see it: the beauty of turning nothing into something. I want to feed you my art. Right now, the business is small but my business partner and I have plans to expand. The largest party we've had is 30 people but eventually we're gonna have a team and then we'll be able to tackle larger parties. 

 

Who or what are your influences in the food industry or in your personal life? Where do you draw inspiration?

To be honest, I draw inspiration from myself. I don't want to sound cocky but I don't really look up at anybody. I'm on a journey to find myself, know who I am and where I want to b. Me now wasn't me two years ago and I've come a long way to not be inspired by myself. Nobody wakes me up in the morning. Nobody says "Cliff, do this". I wake up and tell myself, I push myself to do what I have to do. Nobody said "Cliff, start this business", I did. So it's only fair that it's me that inspires myself. But if you were to say who inspired me from a basic standpoint, I would have to say my Dad. This guy was always hustling, always on his grind. He was always working to provide for his family and that's the kind of man I want to be in the future. And I must say that I do respect a lot of chefs. I do my best to learn from them, especially my mentor Stafford Lewis. His business is called Concept Cuisiner. Watching him work, it's like an art form. Sometimes when I'm in the kitchen with him, I feel like he's 10 steps ahead of me and I'm tryna catch up! That is the only thing that keeps me going; I gotta keep up with him. He can't be the only ill chef in this industry. Anytime I need inspiration, I just think about how I have to get on his level.  

 

Do you follow recipes or is everything you make from memory? 

Cliff's Creations: Panko Breaded Fish and Chips. A haddock paired with a lime cilantro slaw and topped off with a roasted pepper and mango aoli, w/ homemade chips seasoned with Oldbay and Mrs. Dash seasoning blend.

Cliff's Creations: Panko Breaded Fish and Chips. A haddock paired with a lime cilantro slaw and topped off with a roasted pepper and mango aoli, w/ homemade chips seasoned with Oldbay and Mrs. Dash seasoning blend.

A little of both. Sometimes I freestyle, because when you've been cooking for so long you know what flavors go together. There was a year where I wasn't eating meat but I was still cooking it and people would ask me how I was tasting the food. I was just like at some point you just know what you're doing. I'm not saying I'm familiar with every single food so I will look at a recipe sometimes. Then I will just cook it and cook it until I get it right, and by that time it'll just be in my brain. Also, growing up in a Caribbean household where there never seems to be food that goes together, you learn how to make it work! 

 

 

What's your end game? Like, paint the big picture of what is the overall goal you want to achieve.

I want to own my own restaurant and food truck. The restaurant can be year round of course, but the food truck would be for the summer, It can be the kind of thing where you might not be able to come to me but I can definitely come to you. I definitely still want to continue bringing the fine dining experience to your home. Not a lot of people can say that they hired a private chef. I want people to be able to say that. I'm just starting out so I'm very affordable. I'm not gonna break your arm and leg, for what? It's only gonna make people think negatively of me. So I make sure to stay very humble. Right now, I just want a boatload of clientele. The money will come, I'm sure of that, but at the end of the day I just want you to be happy. Yes, I'm your private chef but I'm also your friend. When you throw a party and you hire me, it's no longer your party; it's our party. Food brings people together, and that's one of the biggest reasons why I decided to become a chef.   

 

Speaking from firsthand experience, if you're looking for a one of a kind dining experience, you needn't look any further than Chef Cliff! He can provide you with an intimate dinner for two or keep the good vibes flowing for your party of ten; the choice is yours! Feel free to follow him on Instagram for glimpse at the variety of dishes he creates, as well as to contact him about his private chef services.